Psalm 71 contains this phrase: “Now that I am old and grey-headed, do not forsake me, O God.”
The psalm is the voice of suffering and oppression.
The voice of old age and diminished capacity.
The voice of a lifetime of experiences.
The voice of acknowledging God’s acts of grace throughout life.
It is the lament of an old person who seeks asylum in the temple.
Apparently persecuted by some enemies who say that the afflictions of old age are a sign of some sort of divine judgement. The writer turns to the God of righteousness whose praise he has been singing since he was a small child. He sings now a passionate cry to God, his immovable rock of refuge.
Will God allow this voice of pleading and praise to go silent under the attack of the man’s enemies? The writer/singer knows his voice will be heard and vows to continue the song of praise begun in his youth.
The world sometimes looks at our older generation as being weak, and feeble, and not worth spending time with or on. I beg to differ. My experience with older folks has been quite the opposite. I believe that we can become more faithful and faith-filled as we age.
I wish to acknowledge our retired priests as one great example. I have witnessed priests in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s come to the nursing homes to celebrate the Eucharist with the residents who are hungry for it. They come to bring Jesus to the sick and the lame but also for staff members, family members as well as to the healthier residents in the apartments.
These priests are so dedicated to their ordinations that occurred 40, 50, 60 years or more ago. And they treat everyone with the Love of Christ.
I thank God that we have these wonderful men, “Still green, still full of sap.”
DEACON STEVE YANISH
Deacon Steve is a husband, father, grandfather and retired nursing home chaplain who is currently serving as deacon at St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.